Carrara marble countertops are having a moment or should we say several decades. Truth be told, this material has been used in European kitchens for countertops and backsplashes for many centuries.
It first became popular in American kitchens in the first half of the 20th century and has become one of the most popular choices for countertops in recent years. This is one of the most universally popular natural stones in existence and will always have adoring fans.
However, it is a more problematic material for countertops than other choices, so it is not a good option for everyone. In this article, we will take you through the basics so that you understand what you are taking on before you invest in a marble countertop.
Carrara Marble Countertops
Marble is a metamorphic stone that has been subjected to enormous pressure over time. It begins as limestone and is transformed into a harder and denser stone through recrystallization. Marble is found all over the world, but Carrara marble is quarried in mountains in the Carrara region of Italy and is one of the most common types of marble in home design.
Carrara marble goes by many names such as white Carrara marble or bianco Carrara. It has a white or light gray background with feathery gray veining throughout. No two slabs ever look the same as some have more dramatic veining than others. While it is similar in appearance to the pricey Calacatta marble and Calacatta gold marble, Carrara marble is one of the least expensive varieties of white marble.
Pros and cons of Carrara marble countertops
White Carrara marble is a classic choice for countertops but it is not the best option for some people or situations.
- Appearance – Carrara marble countertops have a traditional and elegant look that is hard to match. The veining is attractive and brings a natural texture to the kitchen or bathroom.
- Resale – Using this stone on a kitchen or bathroom countertop can increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
- Longevity – With the proper maintenance, marble can last for many years and remain beautiful.
- Cost – Carrara marble is one of the least expensive varieties of marble. If you are set on having marble countertops, this is a cost-effective choice.
- Cooking prep– Marble stays cool to the touch so it is a great work surface. However, it is not resistant to all heat, so do not set a hot pot on the surface of marble.
- Scratching and staining – Carrara marble is a soft and porous material that is easy to dent and scratch. It will also stain if you leave spills of tomato sauce or wine on the countertops.
- Etching – The finish on the marble will etch or dull if acidic substances like citrus juice are left on the countertops.
- Cost – Compared to countertops of other varieties like wood, laminate, and quartz, Carrara marble countertops are expensive.
- Maintenance – These countertops are not low maintenance but require constant upkeep to keep looking beautiful.
Care of a Carrara marble countertop
Beauty is worth some extra effort and the same is true of Carrara marble. Countertops in a busy kitchen or bathroom can take a beating, but with care they will be gorgeous for many years.
- Maintain with a sealer – Make sure that you are sealing your marble countertops on a regular basis, or at least once a year. A sealant is not difficult to apply. First, make sure the countertop is clean and dry. Next, apply a penetrating sealant with a soft cloth. Let the countertop dry before use.
- Keep it clean – The most important thing is keeping the countertops clear of things that will etch or stain them. Wipe down the counters every day to make sure they are dry and clean. Do not use abrasive cleaners on a regular basis.
- Deal with stains and etches – If your countertops are etched or stained, use a more aggressive and specialized cleaner to deal with these marks. Once you have cleaned with a stronger cleaner with the best of your ability, you will need to reseal the area that you cleaned. Honed Carrara marble countertops will hide more imperfections than polished marble.
- Learn to live with imperfections – Carrara marble will develop imperfections over time, but this is part of an overall patina that can be attractive in its own way.
Carrara marble countertop inspiration
Marble is a luxurious addition to any room of the home. While marble is a popular addition for the kitchen, Carrara marble bathroom countertop options are beautiful too. We have rounded up some stunning images for you to see and to be inspired.
Carrara marble kitchen countertops and decorative backsplash
For anyone who thinks that Carrara marble is too traditional, this kitchen begs to differ. These owners have paired the classic look of marble counters and white cabinets with these stunning mosaic tiles. These tiles and countertops work well with the warm textural decor like the window blind and wood floors.
Carrara white marble countertops with earthy tones
We love the contrast of these medium-toned green cabinets with the white Carrara marble countertops. The designer has added earthy elements including the woven sconces and basket to balance the smoothness of the counters and backsplash.
A marble backsplash with Carrara marble countertops
If you like marble countertops, why not complete the look with a slab backsplash of the same material? The simple and unfussy look of this backsplash complements the flat and modern cabinet style in this kitchen.
White Carrara marble countertops
Give your kitchen a look of quiet sophistication with a pairing of white marble and dark blue cabinets. The key to this look is the sense of openness and space. The white open shelves blend with the white walls and the marble countertops creating a harmonious color story. The blue cabinets give the design a strong foundation.
Carrara marble for a luxurious bathroom
You might think that it would be overwhelming to use marble for every element in a bathroom. However, while the designer has chosen to use marble floors, a marble sink and countertop, and a marble surround on the bath, this bathroom has an understated look. Gold fixtures, the bright element of the design, are used as spare accents.
Marble counters in a modern kitchen design
If you think that Carrara marble belongs in traditional designs, then consider this kitchen. This kitchen has a modern and sleek design with flat fronted cabinets and leather pulls. The soft gray color echoes the veining in the marble and provides contrast to the white subway tile backsplash.
Carrara marble laminate countertops
Carrara marble may be out of the price range for some, but if you like the look, consider a laminate option. This kitchen is from blogger/designer Sarah Jane Christy. She chose to use a thick laminate marble look-alike with a crescent edge for the laminate countertop. This choice means that there is no raw edge showing creating a more authentic marble appearance.
Carrara marble in a historic inspired bathroom
This bathroom is a meeting place between the old and the new in the style of modern traditional. The homeowners have paired the sleek and tailored mirrors with a sumptuous vanity. The interplay between the dark mahogany vanity base and white Carrara top is effective.
Everything and the kitchen sink
There is something about the repetition of this natural stone that creates a look of luxury. Beyond just the use of marble for a counter, marble sinks elevate the look of the kitchen. Also, notice the drain lines on the countertop leading to the sink. This speaks of a kitchen that is well used rather than one that is just for show.
White Carrara marble in contemporary design
White marble works with many house design styles: modern, traditional, and farmhouse. It also looks beautiful with a clean and airy contemporary style. The woven pendant lights and bar stools bring a comfortable warmth to the sleek design.
Classic farmhouse with white Carrara marble
One of the benefits of marble countertops is their timeless character. They look great with many different styles including this traditional kitchen. The contrast between the elegant countertops and the simple shaker cabinets is striking.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What backsplash goes with Carrara marble countertops?
Marble backsplashes look great with marble countertops, but if you want a less expensive route, try white or colored subway tile. Tile elevates the look of the kitchen, but it is still a cost effective option. For a modern home, try a stainless steel backsplash which is a durable and functional option.
What tile goes well with Carrara marble?
Of course, white and black tile work well with Carrara marble. However, you may also consider green, blue, gray, and beige tiles.
What does a Carrara marble countertop cost?
The prices of Carrara marble vary according to location. However, the average price for Carrara marble countertops is around $40 per square foot. Carrara is one of the most common varieties of marble making it less expensive than other white marbles like Calacatta marble which is around $180 per square foot.
Which is better: Carrara marble countertops vs granite?
Granite is harder than marble; therefore, it is less prone to scratching, etching, and more heat resistant. However, the average cost of granite countertops is $75, so it is more expensive than Carrara marble.
Are there quartz countertops that look like Carrara marble?
Yes, there are several white quartz countertop options that mimic the look of Carrara marble. Shop for Vena Statuario Bianco Quartz along with Carrara Pental quartz which are the best options for a Carrara marble look-alike.
Should a backsplash be lighter or darker than the countertops?
This is a personal choice rather than a design rule. However, many homeowners choose a lighter backsplash option to contrast with the countertops. In the end, the backsplash should be used to balance out the color tones of the design overall.
Carrara Marble Countertops: Conclusion
Carrara marble is an incredible natural stone: it is beautiful, versatile, and with the right care, it is durable. While it does require some maintenance, many people have chosen to use it because the look is hard to replicate with any other material. In the end, it is worth the extra effort to add this luxurious quality stone to your home.